Q: Which Norman Rockwell painting owned by Steven Spielberg, does the film director most relate to when he is about to embark on a new project?

A: Boy on a High Dive

"Boy on a High Dive," Norman Rockwell, 1947

"Boy on a High Dive," Norman Rockwell, 1947. ©1947 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved. Original oil on canvas currently on view in The Smithsonian American Art Museum's exhibition "Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg."

When asked about the classic 1947 cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, Spielberg replied that “I’ve always loved that painting. It means a lot to me, because we’re all on diving boards hundreds of times during our lives, taking the plunge or pulling back from the abyss. For me, that painting represents every motion picture just before I commit to directing it. Just that one moment, before I say, ‘Yes, I’m going to direct that movie.’ For Schindler’s List, I probably lived on that diving board for eleven years before I eventually took the plunge. So that painting spoke to me the second I saw it. When I saw that the painting was available to add to my collection, I said, ‘Well not only is it going in my collection, but it’s going in my office so I can look at it every day of my life.’

Read more of the interview between Spielberg and filmmaker Laurent Bouzereau on Smithsonian’s Eye Level blog.

Own your own copy of Boy on a High Dive or other high quality Rockwell prints by visiting Norman Rockwell Museum’s online store

Rockwell and the Movies
on view through October 31, 2010

Find out about our other exciting exhibitions here.

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